Thursday, 15 May 2014

Kashmiri Rajma with Saffron Rice-- No Onion No Garlic

It has been a whirlwind of cooking and sightseeing in my household for the past two weeks with my in-laws visiting us and more importantly my husband's Grandmum. My husband was hardly around during their stay and so the entire responsibility of the household starting from groceries to sightseeing lay with me.  While it was fun at times with my baby especially enjoying the increased attention, it was quite taxing and stressful at others. Nevertheless, now it's hardly a week before they leave and so I am all geared up to make their stay memorable, food wise. 
Today's recipe is a wonderful combination from the valleys of Kashmir with keeping the no onion no garlic restriction intact. Kashmiri Pundits mostly do their cooking sans onion and garlic and yet churn out superbly yummy dishes which leave a lingering taste on your palate. So go ahead and surprise yourself and your family with this yummy delight!

For the Rajma
1 1/2 cup rajma or red kidney beans, soaked overnight or at least for 6-7 hours
2 bay leaves
3 big tomatoes or 4 small, eyes removed and made into a puree in the blender
2 big tbsp coriander leaves
1 tbsp ginger grated
1 tsp red chilli powder
4 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida or heeng
7-8 green cardamoms (skin removed), 5-6 cloves, 2-3 small pieces cinammon all ground to a fine powder. (Alternatively, you can also use 1 tbsp good quality garam masala)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp cumin seeds

For the Saffron Rice
2 1/2 cups long grain basmati rice
2-3 generous pinch saffron
2 tbsp cold/warm milk (I used cold milk)
2 each of cloves, cinnamon, and cardamoms
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
4 cups warm water (be sure to use the same measurement as you used to measure the rice)
2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil (ghee gives it a taste lift)
Salt to taste
Optionally, you can use paneer cubes lightly sautéed (I did not have at hand)

For the Rajma
Wash the soaked rajma thoroughly and pressure cook with fresh water and the bay leaf until done. Keep aside and let it cool. 
In a pan, heat the oil and crackle the cumin seeds. Now lower the heat and add the heeng and grated ginger. Fry for 1-2 minutes and add the puree. Continue frying until the raw smell of the tomatoes disappear. Now add the chilli powder and coriander powder. Mix thoroughly and stir till oil starts coming out from the sides. Now with a slotted spoon, take out about 1/2 cup boiled rajma and mash it in a bowl. Add this to the gravy and stir well. Now add the remaining rajma reserving the liquid. Mix all the spices and the rajma well. Add the fresh coriander and the reserved liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce the gravy to your desired consistency. Now add the ground garam masala and stir. Remove from heat and serve hot with the yummy Saffron Rice.

For the Saffron Rice
Wash and soak the rice for about 1/2 an hour. Thereafter, drain the water and keep the rice in a colander. Soak the saffron in the milk for about an hour and crush the strands a bit in order to infuse maximum color and flavor.
In a tight lid pan, heat the ghee and splutter the cumin seeds and whole garam masala. Add the turmeric powder and the drained rice and stir for a min till the turmeric raw smell disappears. Now add the saffron milk, paneer pieces (if using), salt, and water. Close the lid tightly and cook on a medium flame until the rice is cooked. Fork the rice in between to ensure uniform cooking.
Alternatively, you can transfer the entire contents onto an electric rice cooker and cook till done. Enjoy with the yummy Rajma or curry of your choice. 

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